Having a website for the modern business is virtually compulsory – people find you through an internet search in many of the cases. That means having a website and if you want to show up in those search results, that meaning SEO or search engine optimisation. While this may seem daunting and is probably something you want to hire out to an SEO agency or a freelancer like me, though it is good to understand the basics. Before you make contact.
Make your website easy to navigate
The first thing you are going to do is to start with the layout of your website. This might not seem like part of SEO, but it is – it is about user experience and this is the most important thing. Google ranks websites that users find easy to use and get around without problems, so site structure is an important place to start.
By navigating, we mean things like what is on that top menu of your website. If you have two sets of services, a blog and a contact page, these are the things on your menu. Don’t overfill it but don’t make it hard to find the important stuff.
Cover the on-page SEO basics
Once you know what you want on your website and how to structure it so people can easily get around, you then want to look at the basics of on-page SEO. There are quite a few elements to this but let’s start with a few basics.
The meta title is the headline at the top of the page and this should be unique for every page and post on the website. It should feature your primary keyword phrase and be the only H1 on the page. You should also use this keyword in the URL which should be as short as possible and not include the date.
The meta description is the other important part. This is a short snippet around 150 characters that tells people what the page is about. It is a small sales pitch to entice them to click and should include that main keyword phrase.
Keyword and content
When you start creating the content on the page, there are different approaches depending on what it is. Blog posts are different to sales or product pages, email sign up pages and contact pages. But there are a few basics to include in all of them:
- Main keyword – this should feature towards the top, in the first 100 words and through the copy a once or twice though in a natural way. DON’T keyword stuff and add it over and over again as this just won’t help.
- Semantic keywords – these are phrases that relate to the keyword or use the words in a different order, and it is good to use these where suitable
- H2 with keyword – at least one H2 heading should have the keyword and there should be more of these to break up the copy and make it easy to read
Look at page speed
One thing to monitor as you add content and other features are site speed. This is how quickly the website loads when someone clicks a link. It should be as quick as possible because it is a rating factor for search engines.
There are lots of things that can slow down your website – large images (in terms of the file size), lots of plugins on WordPress, poor quality hosting. You can get tools that help you assess your site speed and advise you on what to do.
Master the basics
Even when you plan to outsource SEO to an expert, it is worth understanding the basics and how what you put on your website factors into these. Then you are in a better position to start seeing that important organic traffic.